O God, O Spirit, Light of all that live

Representative Text

O God, O Spirit, Light of all that live,
Who dost on us that sit in darkness shine,
Our darkness ever with Thy Light dost strive,
In vain Thou lur'st us with Thy beams divine;
Yet none, O Spirit, from Thine eye can hide,
Gladly [will] I Thy searching glance abide.

Search all my hidden parts, whate'er impure
Thy Light discovers there, do Thou destroy;
The bitterst pain I willingly endure,
Such pain is followed by eternal joy;
Thou'lt cleanse me from my stains of darkest hue,
And in Christ's image form my soul anew.

I cannot stay the venomed power of sin,
'Tis Thy anointing only can avail;
Oh make my spirit new and right within,
Without Thee all my utmost efforts fail.
Life to my cold dead soul I cannot give,
Be Thou my life, so only shall I live.

O Breath from out the Eternal Silence, blow
All softly o'er my spirit's barren ground,
The precious fulness of my God bestow,
That where erst sin and shame alone were found,
Faith, love, and holy reverence may upspring,
In spirit and in truth to worship God our King.

Oh let my thoughts, my actions and my will
Obedient solely to Thy impulse move,
My heart and senses keep Thou blameless still,
Fixed and absorbed in God's unuttered love.
Thy praying, teaching, striving, in my heart,
Let me not quench, nor make Thee to depart.

O Fount, O Spirit, who dost take and show
Things of the Son to us, who crystal clear
From God's throne and the Lamb's doth ceaseless flow
Into the quiet hearts that seek Thee here,
I open wide my mouth, and thirsting sink
Beside Thy stream, its living waves to drink.

I give myself to Thee, to Thee alone,
From all else sundered, Thou art ever near,
The creature and myself I all disown,
Trusting with inmost faith that God is here!
O God, O Spirit, Light of Life, we see
None ever wait in vain, who wait for Thee.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #59

Author: Gerhard Tersteegen

Tersteegen, Gerhard, a pious and useful mystic of the eighteenth century, was born at Mörs, Germany, November 25, 1697. He was carefully educated in his childhood, and then apprenticed (1715) to his older brother, a shopkeeper. He was religiously inclined from his youth, and upon coming of age he secured a humble cottage near Mühlheim, where he led a life of seclusion and self-denial for many years. At about thirty years of age he began to exhort and preach in private and public gatherings. His influence became very great, such was his reputation for piety and his success in talking, preaching, and writing concerning spiritual religion. He wrote one hundred and eleven hymns, most of which appeared in his Spiritual Flower Garden (1731). He… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O God, O Spirit, Light of all that live
German Title: O Gott, o Geist, o Licht des Lebens
Author: Gerhard Tersteegen (1731)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



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